Real moms weigh in on provocative ‘Fallen Princesses’

What does happen after “happily ever after”?

With the Disney princess set royally popular among the single-digit female demographic, there’s been a lot of hubbub about how the princesses fit in with feminism and the message we are wittingly or unwittingly sending our young daughters.

Award-winning Canadian visual artist Dina Goldstein adds to that conversation with her photo series Fallen Princesses.

The photographer has said that she was inspired to create the series when her mother was diagnosed with cancer around the same time that her daughter started getting interested in the princesses. This was her inspiration for juxtaposing Snow White, Rapunzel, Cinderella and more with modern problems that real women face today.

We asked a few moms from our own community to share their reactions to Goldstein’s popular — if somewhat controversial — images…

fallen princesses_snow white

image via

Those beautiful children in the room and he wants to look at the TV. Somehow it keeps being her job, even when he’s there. She’s more alone right there than she is when he’s at work. — Atieno B., Washington DC

As an educated stay-at-home mom, I still think stay-at-home moms are seen as the primary caregivers of our children and uneducated. However, I believe more men are stepping in and taking on more responsibilities with their children and more women are working out of the home… This image seems old in relation to today’s reality. — Crystal S., Houston

This made me LOL – at least once in the past month this image was my reality of marriage and motherhood. Only my prince is way hotter and I have one kid. — Michelle S., Washington, NC

I definitely relate… I feel so un-young and un-beautiful right now.  Just tired and weathered watching TV, watching our old lives. Although I wouldn’t trade it… I wonder if I can show this to [my 5-year-old daughter]. — Hannah W., Austin, TX

fallen princesses_rapunzel

image via

Gah, alone in a tower of Cancer. Cancer has shaped my adulthood and made me into clean food fanatic. My kid is “that kid” who is not allowed to eat most “kid” foods because I police her. Because I love her, that’s why? — Michelle S., Washington, NC

I immediately thought of my mother, who went through chemotherapy when I was in high school. Her wig was the same color, but short. She was still my beautiful mom, with or without the wig. — Melissa T., Pittsburgh

fallen princesses_ little red big

image via

Red Riding Hood is the poster child for the USA’s health crisis. – Michelle S., Washington, NC

It’s like the alternative tale of what cam happen to the princesses when their princes don’t show up. And these ladies really didn’t have a plan B set in place: college education, cottage industry (pun intended), or a network of friends outside of forest animals. At first glance they just seem so lonely.It makes me a little sad as a mom I want my son to live his life full of whimsy and believing in fairy tales. But they remind me that it’s also important to remain somewhat grounded. – Florence W., New York City

fallen princesses_bella

image via

These all offer powerful, socio-political commentary on gender roles and the beauty ideal. “Beauty” is particularly graphic, showing a bloody face lift for the price of, well, being “Beauty.” There has been a lot of critique of the “princess ideal,” projected on young girls, and despite a little progress in that area (there’s now a black princess, and some of them are warriors), the picture of perfection is still pretty airbrushed. If every girl still wants to be a princess, shouldn’t the role models be less concerned with perfect hair, a perfect-pitch singing voice, and swooning over Charming? I want to see Scientist Princess, President Princess, Lesbian Princess!  – Heather W. R., Sacramento, CA

What do you think? Check out the full collection of Fallen Princesses.